Saturday, June 25, 2016

Orange

My new folding bike arrived yesterday. I took it on a little spin. It's a great little bike though the handling takes a little getting used to. I've already modified it by swapping the saddle. That was a huge improvement. I'm having another one of my slow Saturdays but I made it to the market. Just finished my brunch and I think I'll go for another short ride. Nothing like a brand new bike for motivation!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blast from the past

I’m a bit overdue for an update. I had a bit of a tough time at work this week. I was thrown all the way back to the worst days at the old job. I find it still a bit painful to talk about…but here goes: my old horrible supervisor is now a client for my new company. Not her individually or directly, but a contract out of her division is something my company is working on. With my switch back to the housing group earlier this year, I started working on the project. I was taking on a larger role, slowly, and enjoying the chance to get hands on with the kind of work I’d previously been involved with from the other side. Maybe a week or so ago, ex-supervisor found out I was working on the project. And she tried to have me removed. The government isn’t allowed to tell a contractor who can work on a project, other than the “key personnel” and my company hadn’t yet put me in that status—though they were planning to. I guess she felt blindsided. Her arguments were along the lines of “we have a good team, I don’t want [Jamy] to take hours away from Fred or Steve.” She didn’t directly ask for my removal, but it was quite clear to my current boss that’s what she wanted. I talked to him about it and gave him some background. Two other bosses were involved in the discussion before I found out what was going on. They have no intention of removing me from the project, which is good. What got me really upset is the idea that she would try and block me from future work. I could easily be bid as the project manager—and would she find someway to eliminate our proposals—but really be biased against them on my account? Would I become a poison pill?

I was really, really upset on Thursday when it all came out.

Thursday night, I had a first date. As you might imagine, it didn’t go great. He was reasonably patient as I vented all over him…but I could see he was distracted and…bored? Or maybe confused. I rarely get as distressed as I was that night and pretty much never with a stranger. I was sort of hoping that he’d be a good, sympathetic listener and maybe provide some comfort. I assumed that, even under those circumstances, we wouldn’t have a second date. We did eventually move on to other topics but I dominated the conversation. That’s not always death but sometimes it is. I don’t expect to hear from him again (haven’t yet) and I have no plans to contact him. At some point in the middle of the date, he asked me to give it a grade and I said B- or C+ and he agreed. But, hey, I’ve had worse dates! He wasn’t an asshole or anything.

I was also texting with some friends and that helped. I have a few people I can talk to who understand and they helped me work though my feelings.

On Friday, I talked to another boss, a VP, at my company about the situation. He seemed to blame me, “This is a small town, you can’t burn bridges.” Wow. As though I didn’t try everything I could to repair things (maybe I didn't? I sure remember trying). At the same time, he also said I shouldn’t worry about it too much, they would keep me on the project, and I’d have work in the future. Both this boss and my direct supervisor told me stories about similar situations where someone took a dislike to them and wanted them off projects. The VP emphasized that they had to keep the client happy. He also gave me a mini-lecture about how I had to stop interrupting in meetings and do a better job listening. I pushed back on that—it was particularly galling because it’s the critique the horrible ex-supervisor used to give me. And it’s really unfair since I listen hard to other people and wait until I think the time is right to jump in. I think it’s a gendered critique and I told the VP that. But I also said I was willing to take any suggestions about how to change my behavior—that I would do any specific thing he asked. And I gave an example where I’d taken his advice in the past and changed the way I ran a certain kind of meeting. I have known this guy a long time, so I think it’s ok to have a frank discussion with him. The irony is that he’s actually a terrible listener! Oh well. I will talk to him again next week and make sure he understands I was upset and make sure everything is cool.

I did tell my direct boss about this exchange and he is totally with me. He got a similar mini-lecture from the VP about being a better listener. Haha! So, at least the person most directly in charge of me gets it.

I am feeling ok today but I had a kind of crazy whiplash experience where for a day I was thrown back into the past and had a concentrated dose of trauma. I talked to a friend from the old job who is working on the project in question. He said he defended me to the ex-supervisor, which was heartening. He said she was just upset because I didn’t like her. I reminded him that I didn’t start out disliking her. I was open to working with her but over time, it became impossible to bear her management style. I wanted to like her. I wanted to keep my job. She won. Can’t that be enough?

I stayed home all day yesterday. I was totally knocked out. I knit and knit and knit. I watched movies, tv, and knit and knit. Today, I’m feeling pretty back to normal. I’m going to try and keep the past in the past.

Grateful for: my new boss.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Balance

I’ve been busy…well, mentally anyway. All of my Israel plans fell apart and had to be reassembled. The youngest Israeli niece got engaged after we made our plans…and then they set a wedding date: July 17! That is about a month after I was planning to return from the June trip. So my stepmother and I had to scramble to change everything. I was able to rebook my flights for July, paying only the change fee. I kept my trip almost exactly the same—still have three nights in Paris, about the same time with Spesh (maybe a little longer). The only hit is that the car rental is about twice as much as before. It’s still under $200 for a bit over a week, so not too bad. I was pretty frustrated, but now I feel like I have some breathing room. I start to get mentally prepared weeks before I travel and now it feels like all this free space has opened up in my calendar. I’ve already almost finished the two new knitted hedgehogs (though I think I only needed one). I have a packing strategy in mind. My passport expires a year from July…I think I will still wait to renew it until after I get back, but I do have time to renew now if I start the process this week. I might even put my place on the AirBnB market, which I wasn’t going to do in June, just because it was too much of a pain to get things clean and ready for guests.

Last weekend, I went on a 17-mile organized bike ride in DC. I rode more like 20 since I biked to the start. For the ride, the streets of DC were closed, which was pretty cool. It was cold and damp but I’m glad it was cool! We got to ride over the Whitehurst Freeway! That was fun. I hope they have it next year, I’ll happily pay the fee and go again. Yesterday, I did another long bike ride—25 miles total—and it was pretty rough. It was nearly 90 degrees and I was dragging. On the long uphill of the first half of the ride, I was way behind the rest of the group. I didn’t have this problem last weekend and I figure it has to be the heat. At any rate, I survived and rode the whole way home. Physically, I feel fine today, which is kind of amazing. I was sure I’d be more sore. My shoulders are stiff, but that’s because I started up my shoulder exercises again this week. Biking may have exacerbated it a bit, it’s not the main cause. Anyway, it’s cool to be able to do these medium distances. I’d like to work up to 50 miles, but that probably isn’t in the cards for this summer. We’ll see.

Work continues well. The project I was working on got wrapped up quickly when my boss said he’d done some editing. I realized that I had to share my major reorganization with him so he wouldn’t be wasting his time. I managed to wrap it up in a day. He commented the next day, and we sent it to the editors on Friday. Deadlines. That’s what I need! However, with that project wrapped, I have to figure out what’s next. I have been working slowly and steadily on another project, which will now have to be the focus. It needs to wrap up someday too and I still don’t have a handle on the timeline. That’s what I’ll figure out next week.

And men…dating…all is well. Still involved with my two not-boyfriends. Liking them both for the very different people they are. Enjoying my interactions with both of them. Mostly. Marty continues to get me riled up. I wonder if that’s something I want? I know fighting is sort of my weakness. I hate it. I really hate it. But it also feels “normal” since I grew up with parents who fought constantly. Sometimes I get angry at Marty and I don’t even understand why. But Ian…I can’t even imagine getting angry at him. I’m not even annoyed with him anymore now that I understand his sense of humor better. I do wonder how sustainable this situation is, but so far so good. I still fit in other socializing—I went to a reception for the volunteers for the tutoring I’ve been doing last week. The best conversation I had was with a woman about her studies in theoretical linguistics. She’s moving to England so it’s not like we’re going to hang out, but oh well. I’m in a good place right now—a good balance. Work is pleasant, socializing is good, I have enough to alone time to recharge. I’m on the bike, I’m cooking at home. Sure, I haven’t vacuumed in a month, but nobody’s perfect.

Grateful for: balance.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Good

Things are good with me. I’m satisfied at work though I need to pick up the productive pace. I do have a hard time focusing and I’m not sure why. I know I need deadlines…maybe I need to set some intermediate deadlines for myself. I can try.

I’m still really happy with the new iPad but I'm struggling to figure out the best way to use it for blogging. I did find one app that works pretty well but it doesn’t put in paragraph breaks and I couldn’t get them to register even when I edited the HTML code. Weird. That means two editing runs, which is a pain. I’m trying something else today. Typing the post in an editor (Word for iPad) and cut and pasting to the web. That means I don’t have to be online for the writing, just the posting, but it’s still a two-step process, which I was hoping to avoid.

I have my trip to Israel and PARIS planned. Three nights in Paris. Three nights with Spesh in Tel Aviv, then the rest of the time in Jerusalem with the family. A bit over two weeks in total. I have found my AirBnB in Paris, rented the car in Israel, sent everyone my itinerary. I am knitting some hedgehogs for the unknown number of new arrivals in the Israeli next generation. One hedgehog is almost done and I hope to get up to three more completed before the trip. I’m also bringing some scarves and a vest I knitted months and months ago. I’m going to have to check a bag…seriously!...to accommodate the wealth of knitted goods.

And dating. Ok, so things remain kind of the same but I have also started seeing a new guy, Ian. He’s growing on me. He is definitely easier to deal with than Marty. These two are quite a contrast. One is tall and heavy, the other is short and medium. One is reactive and can be emotional, the other is calm no matter what. It’s not a case of mash them together and get one perfect guy…it’s more that they are so extremely different that I find it an enjoyable counterpoint. Marty involves some emotional effort on my part and he often leaves me feeling exhausted. The benefit is that sometimes I feel a real connection with him. Ian is very easy to deal with, though sometimes I he annoys me. But he doesn’t care and never gets angry. That’s helped me relax with him more. Because he’s mellow, there’s no strain to be with him, but I feel at a bit of a remove with him. The last time I saw him, he really started to open up and told me a lot about his family and I felt closer to him.

Altogether this is a strange situation and not one I ever expected to be in. I have mixed feelings about it. I like that I have people to connect with and spend time with. I think I would still prefer one “regular” boyfriend but I also have a lot of freedom and my day-to-day routine is the same as it ever was. From one perspective, this is an ideal situation. So, I dunno. I guess I’ll keep going for now but stop if I’m getting unhappy or frustrated.

Grateful for: freedom.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Early

I got up early this morning to watch the USS Barry leave its slip on the Anacostia River. It took three blue tugboats to get the Barry turned in the right direction and moving towards the bridge. Apparently the Barry’s engines don’t work because these three tugs were pushing and pulling it all the way. Not sure the final destination. A lot of folks came out and I met up with a small group of bicyclists to watch the towing.
USS Barry Departing Navy Yard
Sorry for the mediocre iPhone photography.

I looped back to the favorite local coffee shop, where I am now. Next is the farmer’s market and then home for a “condo work day.” A few hours of clearing trash and pulling weeds around the property with my neighbors. We did this once last year and it was good. And the rest of the day? Who knows. Take a nap? Go to a movie? 

In general, things are going well. I picked up another assignment at work and now I’d say I’m comfortably busy. Dating…there is a little. I had a proper date this week, in fact. He was enthusiastic but I wasn’t. Marty still lingers but we’re talking less and that’s good. I feel ok. Kind of level, even, calm. I’ll take it. Oh, and it looks like I’m going to Israel in June. Dad is going and asked me to join so I will. Will I try and stop in London or Paris on the way? How long will I stay? Gotta decide and get my tix today or tomorrow! That does stress me out a bit, but it’s a good problem to have. 


Grateful for: the calm. 

Sunday, May 01, 2016

To spend or not to spend

I just got a new iPad. I probably didn't need it but it's pretty sweet. The reason was so I could use the handwriting capabilities. Steve Jobs may be turning over in his grave, but the new stylus (the Apple Pencil) is amazing. I tried a stylus on my old iPad and it just didn't work very well. I prefer to take handwritten notes and now I can--on my iPad! This is truly the paperless future--probably. 

So that was real money. As much as a computer. Anyway, so I go to load my blogging app--and it no longer exists. I was using Blogsy--but it turns out they have stopped developing it and you can't get it in the iTunes store. Sad! The developers couldn't get it to work with the most recent iOS and couldn't make money--they folded up shop. Blogger has an app--or they did. It's gone too. Wordpress has an app but then I'd have to convert the entire blog to Wordpress...so much work for a blog I post on once a month! Finally, I found the app I'm using now, BlogPad Pro. We'll see if it works.  So, first big purchase--the iPad.

Next, I've been thinking about a fancy folding bike. It's a good idea, almost positive I'd use it a lot but it's real money and I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger.

Then I look around my house. I got this beautiful mid-century modern sofa set a few years ago but I don't love it. It's not comfortable for sitting. It wiggles. It's ok but not for me. It came with a coffee table and two end table--I don't need all that. The room is too full. I want a change. But then there are so many decisions to make...new sofa. New coffee table. What to do with my second sofa (yes, I have two now)...

And I need a new rug. The one I have in the living room is too small for the space.  A while ago, a friend suggested I get some built-in bookcases in the dining area. She's right. It's a good idea. But another decision.

How long will be here? Am I accepting this forever single life as my fate? But if I move in a year, it won't have hurt to put a few grand into making the place more comfortable.  I have the money--I'm lucky. I can afford all these changes. I pretty much know what I like. I could do it. But how do I get myself to start? 

Grateful for: options.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

No news

I'm fond of aphorisms and one of my favorites is "no news is good news." I said it someone recently and they had never heard of it. We had to talk it through. I will spare you but let's just say that my life isn't very exciting right now and that's good news. Work rumbles along and it's not too stressful. I need a bit more to do but I think that will come. I am still really happy to back to my area of expertise. It's not even that so much--I would've been happy to learn new things, if only those things weren't so dreadfully dull and combined with an impossible to satisfy client and more tasks than I could reasonably accomplish. I've had a few new challenges in my new division. I think I will still have a chance to learn and grow.

My other challenge is to be more outgoing, do more things and try and meet people. I'm going to do more of the bike-related volunteering, which I totally skipped out on last Spring/Summer. I need to put myself in the way of meeting new people. I need some new life in my social circle. All my dating is from apps and that's just crazy. It works for meeting people but has never been a source of more than the briefest of "relationships." Well, except for Marty, who is still there, lingering in the background--and often in the foreground. He is reason enough to push to meet more people. While we continue to get along well, he's just not going to fill the boyfriend role completely. We have had some ups and downs but seem to deal with them ok. It helps that I don't see him every day so there is plenty of time to cool down and regroup. That isn't always possible with a boyfriend and when the expectations are higher. I do sometimes start to think about him as a boyfriend...but that's a mistake. It's something I have to keep my eye on, that's all.

At any rate, I'm generally much happier, calmer, more content than I have been for years. I still need to do stuff like clean out a bunch of junk from my house (like, always), decide whether I should sell my car (driven sometimes less than once a month!), and exercise more regularly. But work is good. I have a weekly volunteer tutoring gig that I really enjoy, I have friends...so no complaints. No bad news, at least for now.

Grateful for: the calm.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Monthly update

I keep thinking, should I go on a schedule? Write every Sunday? Once a month? But I chafe at the idea. I want to be free! Haha. Oh, for the job with so little to do that I could write for an hour a day while at the office.

A lot has changed in the last month or so since I wrote last. My nightmare project is over and it has completely changed my experience at the office. (The project continues, just without me.) It was hard at first since I had a lot of ego wrapped up in that damn thing, but almost immediately I felt better about everything. Happier, calmer, engaged. Now I get to work on topics I care about and where I have some expertise to offer. I'm not crazy busy--at least not yet. I'm still adjusting but for the first time in years, I don't dread work. I actually wish I had a bit more to do...and I'm struggling to read a 180 page report, but what else is new? I contributed to a couple of proposals, I'm taking over a piece of a larger project, and maybe, eventually, I'll bring in some new work if I can figure out where to look. It's all good.

On the dating front, there has been some. A date here, a date there. The guy I rather liked showed up one more time but has since disappeared, I think for good. I thought he was available for the boyfriend track, but it seems that was not the case. A couple of the old-timers showed up. Last night, another late-night text from someone...but I just ignored it and will stop answering. (This particular one is fine but I'm really not interested.)

And Marty, my friend-not-boyfriend, is around. I don't know what to say about him exactly. Sometimes I like him a lot, other times, not so much. I like having regular contact with someone, even if it's by text. And it's not just someone--it's Marty who I like. I have a new (female) friend who would be happy to text with me all the time, but from her it's just annoying. Oh, she's ok, but needy and a bit depressed. She drains me. Marty is a more mutual friendship. He's encouraging. But I get super annoyed with him sometimes and will give him a whole load of no-nonsense advice, even when he doesn't want it. I have a habit of getting involved with guys who are blind to the contradictions in their lives and I end up spending a lot of time waking them up. This may or may not be good for those guys but it really feels like a waste of my time. Why do I do it rather than just cut them loose? But, Marty is a bit different. He listens to me and has taken some of my analyses to heart. Has he acted on some of them? A little. I still don't know if he's a net positive in my life, but he does make me feel less lonely. Then again, he also makes me feel lonely. No man at all is less lonely than an absent man...

Grateful for: improvements on the work front.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Civic minded

What is this, some kind of trend? Well, this is a dating blog and I have been dating a lot, so maybe I'll write about it a little. The guy (Marty) I wrote about last time, the one who wants to be my friend...well, I called it. I guess it's an experience thing, but after seeing him on Saturday I just knew his whole line was BS. Or maybe I hadn't really been listening. He is encouraging me to date other guys because he's not available. And he hasn't asked me to wait for him or any nonsense like that. I've also been pretty clear to him that I don't think I like him beyond friends, though we did have fun together. But that inner voice was saying, "he wants to be your boyfriend." That is basically what he would like and yesterday, in our texting, it came out. Not in those words, but so close that it really clicked for me.

There are these guys, I haven't run into one recently, and they see something in me and they kind of get caught up in it. In my...amazing-ness. Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous, but I can tell when someone is seeing me that way, and he definitely was. In a lot of ways we weren't connecting at all. I listened to his stories and pushed him a bit to explain himself, but we also did a lot of talking past each other. I still feel like I have to tread lightly with him. I don't think I'm at much risk of being crushed, but he is, when he figures out that I'm not all that special and definitely not a solution to his problems. To his credit, when I gave him a warning, he seemed to completely get it.

Anyway, last night, I had a date with someone else (Mike). We just started chatting that day and he asked me to meet him and I said, why not? He proposed to come to my house with a bottle of wine, but I put the kibosh on that and we met for a drink. His whole approach was interesting--he asked me what he should see in DC and I assumed he was from out of town. But not at all! He was just curious and open to explore different parts of the city. I like that a lot. He said he wasn't stabby but sure we could meet elsewhere. I said I wasn't scared, it was just common sense. He got on board. He really wanted to watch the caucuses, and, even though I'd rather ignore electoral politics, I agreed. We had a pretty good time watching and talking about the candidates.  Even though I don't care, I had plenty to say! Once or twice I filled in a word he couldn't come up with and he complimented me (!) and made a little joke of it, saying I must be good at scrabble. No, I'm not. And we also had a joke about voter fraud--kids getting fake IDs so they could vote--because people bring their kids to the caucus--and some of the people registering looked so young. I also had a story about Mom taking me to a caucus in Seattle before they switched to a primary system. Somehow that morphed into a jokey conversation about who a civic-minded 10-year-old would vote for and how she would sneak into the caucus. The whole thing was very pleasant and low key, but clever. He walked me home, we stood awkwardly on the sidewalk, chatting, and he gave me a couple of goodbye hugs. I mumbled about wanting to see him again. I texted him (via the dating site) when I got home that I had fun. He asked for my number, which I sent. But he didn't text..I haven't heard from him. I am leaving it alone but it's kind of hard. He was an interesting guy, nice looking, and easy to talk to. I'd like to get a chance to see where it goes.

When I feel this positive about someone, I usually never hear from him again. (Marty doesn't count--he's in some other category.)  If I don't hear from Mike, it won't break my heart, but it would be so great if I did...

Grateful for: a little hope.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Where am I?

Back in the day, I used to read a lot of blogs written by local DC folks and many of them were dating blogs. I still read blogs but most of them are about knitting or bicycles these days. Pretty much all of the DC blogs have closed up shop and all of the dating blogs I followed are done. Maybe there are new dating blogs out there but I haven't sought them out. I wonder if this blog has also died--it's certainly dying of neglect. I still hesitate to officially close or even re-brand because, sad to say--or maybe hope springs eternal?--I am still dating. I've had a couple of near misses with would-be boyfriends. I've rejected many potential suitors and all the ones I had an interest in rejected me. That's ok. I don't really regret any of those near misses. I don't look back over the last 5+ years of dating and think, "that one! If only things had worked out with THAT ONE." If I look further back, yes, there are a handful of men I think I could've had happy long(er) term relationships with. But even of those, there is maybe only one who I could've been with if I'd made different choices. I made those choices for a reason, so while I have some regrets, I know why I did what I did.

I've been dating pretty steadily the last year or so and I started keeping a list. The name, the date,and something memorable about him or the circumstances. Enough to a trigger the memory if I wanted to write it up. It's something I read about someone doing while she was online dating. It hasn't really helped me find Mr. Right but it is good to keep track. I wish I still met people in my day to day life, but online seems to be where it's at. Oh well. Better than nothing? Would it be better if I just went out to bars more often? I dunno.

I had a date on Friday. We went to a movie. We talked a bit before the movie started and he said, "Do you think it's worse to reject someone or to be rejected?" I said, "It's easier to be rejected but it feels better to do the rejecting." He didn't hear the second part of the sentence and said, "I just had to reject someone and I hate it. I hate confrontation." Well, that was enough to for me to think we weren't suited. I haven't heard from him since so he may have drawn the same conclusion--and if he never calls me again, then no one will have to actively reject anyone.

It made me think though, because I hate doing the rejecting. I hate it. But it feels better in the end because you know why you did it. You know why you didn't like him and there is no mystery. When I'm rejected, it's easier because I didn't have to decide--and deciding is a huge burden--but the mystery kills me. I hate not knowing why. What exactly was it about me that he didn't like? My looks? Did I talk too much? Was I judgmental, pretentious, ignorant? What was it? What did I do? Don't you realize that I'm a huge catch? That I'm one of the smartest most interesting people you will ever meet? How can YOU reject ME? Heh. Ok, I don't usually go that far in my inner monologue. But when I kinda like the guy and then I never hear from him again, it will niggle at me for several days. The good news is that I'm really good at letting it go. I accept the silence, I don't ask for an answer, and I move on. I've learned to let it go because the answers are never helpful. It's either really about him or it's something I can't or won't change. It might even be something that I've been trying to change for years...but all I can do is make tiny, tiny advances...and will probably never completely resolve. Learning to be a supervisor, I often say you have to meet people where they are. Same goes for relationships. And if someone doesn't like where I am, then we're both better off going our separate ways.

And, speaking of dating, I had a date with someone else on Saturday. We've been in "negotiations" for a while. He's not really available (trust me), but we have a good companionable text thing going on. We met for coffee a few weeks ago and I thought we were done, but the texting kept going and I got more engaged. We met again yesterday and we had mostly a good time. But...how do I explain? He has made it clear that he wants to be friends and that's where it ends. Fine. But we meet and I know, I know, that he wants to be my boyfriend. I feel it with a kind of certainty but I don't think he realizes it. This guy just needs a hug. He hasn't had a sincere hug for a really long time. Even I am not that bad off. And I don't know how I feel about him. I'm kind of rolling with it because there is something there...something I'm getting from talking to him. But I don't think he can give me what I want, not completely. He can give me a little and I'm taking it but in the long run it won't be good for either of us. I think I will just have to pay attention and make sure I'm not causing either of us real harm. Yeah, I can do that.

Grateful for: good neighbors who did their fair share of snow shoveling.